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Developer Diary – Entry 3 : Making Progress, composing some requirements

Thank you all for the comments and support around Venus! It's extremely motivating to get such feedback - I really appreciate the offers of help, support, and encouragement! In this post I want to explain some of the work I've done in specifying my requirements for Venus. Keep the comments coming, let me know what you think about the direction I'm taking with Venus.

The reason why I built TextQuick was to simply the process of composing a SMS, and to a large extent I believe I did just that. I can now send a text message to my friends and family so much more quickly than I could before, it's a simple click to launch TextQuick and then a click to compose a message to my wife – simple.

I have some idea's for new features that I would love to add to TextQuick, but I want to do it in such a way so that I do not confuse the user experience. The flow through the application should just be as simple as possible. I feel it's also important to not clutter the screen, phone screen's aren't large and I want to make sure the user can see as many friends as possible.

This was also the driving factor behind “Venus”. I wanted a graphics library that would allow me to animate and move the UI elements about, allowing me to add new features without adding slow loading tabs, clunky extra menus, and other slow feeling UI elements. Ideally I would like the user to navigate through my application with just the joystick / 4 way controller.

To do this I need a graphics library that will allow me as a developer to preform animations and movement with a single, or as near to a single line of code as possible. Lines like:
move elementA from (x,y) to (x,y) over 10 seconds
Should be easy to compose. - What if I wanted something else to happen after the movement, I'd like to be able to do something like this:
move elementA from (x,y) to (x,y) over 10 seconds THEN
fade elementA from alpha value 255 to alpha value 0 over 2 seconds

But I should also be able to do the following:
move elementA from (x,y) to (x,y) over 10 seconds AND AT THE SAME TIME
fade elementA from alpha value 255 to alpha value 0 over 2 seconds

This builds up the idea of a time line with events which follow each other, but what are me modifying ? What is an element ?

In this case an element is some form of graphic, it doesn't matter what it is, but let's say it's something which knows how to draw it's self. In the examples above we've assumed that elements all have the same set of values:
X, Y, Alpha

With just these three values we can produce a world of movement and animation. Looking into the wider world, animated HTML, with <DIV> tags provides on example of the same idea in practise.

These basic idea's will lay the foundation of Venus. - There is a lot more to it than that, but these are the basic principles.

A note on today
Today marks the day that TextQuick 1.5's certificate expired , this means that I need to rebuild TextQuick 1.5 and re-sign the application. In the mean time it's still possible to install TextQuick. To do so you simply have have to temporarily set the date on your phone back 4 months, install TextQuick, then re-set the clock back today's date. Not the best user experience, and it's not something I'm happy with. - At the moment I'm looking for the original source code for TextQuick so I can rebuild the sis file and get it uploaded ASAP. As chance would have it the PC which has all my backups has decided to stop booting, talk about sod's law. I'll post again when I've complete this rebuild. In the mean time I'm working hard on Venus and plan to reveal more soon.

TextQuick has now been re-signed and the certificate is now valid! See here for more details.

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